Admitting that she’s not a mother, reality TV actress Erica Lynne wondered on her Facebook page what her fans thought about breastfeeding. However, she injected her own ironic hypocrisy into her message, which further illustrates the amazing disparity between what’s socially acceptable and what is not.
The non-supportive message of support
Erica Lynne appeared on a season of Oxygen’s Bad Girls Club and maintains a strong social media following. She recently asked her Facebook followers what they thought about breastfeeding in public, and she didn’t hesitate to share her own feelings. “I definitely don’t have a problem with it, but…” she writes. And we all know that when people say they support something, yet follow it up with a “but” statement, that they really don’t support it at all.
Erica proves this to be true, and she does it quite well. She launches into an ugly tirade against moms who “whip it out,” pleading for them to cover up. Because you know that nobody wants to see that, right?
Breastfeeding when compared to near-nude photo shoots
The thing is, her weak argument is completely laughable. Erica Lynne, who is not a mom herself, has modeled for photos that reveal far, far more than a mother who breastfeeds in public.
So let me get this straight. A photo of a woman sporting nothing more than a thin band of material over her breasts is OK, but a mom nursing her kiddo isn’t? Showing off your whole bum is fine, but a breastfeeding mom is totally taboo?
What this boils down to is women’s bodies are fine as long as they are sexual and not maternal. Using a breast for what it is designed to do is bad, but using a woman’s body to sell things is good. Boobs that are displayed for a man’s pleasure are A-OK, but boobs that nourish human babies are disgusting and need to be hidden away.
Breastfeeding moms can nurse their babies in public
It’s hypocritical and it frankly reeks. I’m not going to disparage the woman for her nearly-nude photo shoots, because it’s her body and her life and policing “too much” exposure is not a route we need to take either. Her words, combined with her modeling choices, help clearly illustrate the argument that women’s bodies are there to serve the needs of advertisement and men — and not the needs of our own young.
So, to the Erica Lynnes of the world who say that babies should be fed out of sight, I invite you to examine why you feel a woman’s body is suitable for public consumption, except when it nourishes a baby. Breastfeeding in public is legal in the U.S. and many states — mine included — have passed laws specifically protecting nursing mothers from harassment and discrimination. This includes asking a breastfeeding woman to cover up, move or leave. So no matter how you feel, there really isn’t anything you can do about it besides become more accepting of nursing moms.